Waist and Hips

In the book Taijiquan: The Art of Nurturing, The Science of Power on page 111, Yang Yang states that turning the waist is not the same as turning the hips.

“The student must differentiate, however, between turning the waist and turning the hips.  If the hips move with the waist, it is no longer “turning the waist” but rather becomes “changing the direction that the body is facing. (Of course, if the waist is turned past a certain point the hips and feet must follow.)  The hips must stay solid as the waist turns to maintain a continuous, connected, spiraling silk-reeling force through-out the body.  Waist turning is also exercise of one’s range of motion and is essential to realize the skill of simultaneously neutralizing and releasing.””

A few of the group have talked about waist turning and its relationship to  neutralization and release of energy.  To help visualize this better, think of the super hero dolls we’d get as children.  The dolls could turn the torso while the hips and legs still faced a particular direction.  You could also rotate the legs without moving the torso.  Here is a decent waist turning exercise found on YouTube.

In a similar vain here is a good hip/thigh exercise found on YouTube.

In our practice, Yiquan’s shi-li is what helps develop this more than the version of Taijiquan that we practice.  A note of warning, though!  When practicing and differentiating the turning of the waist and hips do not lose whole body integration or else you risk becoming a noodler in partner practice which is not healthy or of any particular martial value.  You also set yourself to get hurt when practicing fajin with others.  Here is a good article, “Tai Chi Concepts Made Clear – The Six Harmonies” outlining in more detail what has just been mentioned.  Hopefully, this help some of the group grow and mature their practice.